“Indeed, the ‘Deen’ in the sight of Allah is Islam….” (al-Imran-19).
“And whoever desires other than Islam as ‘Deen’- never will it be accepted from him, and he, in the Hereafter, will be among the losers” (al-Imran-85).
These verses make it clear that no religion/ ‘deen’ other than Islam is acceptable to Allah. When a person accepts Islam, he is called a Muslim. After accepting Islam, every Muslim is assigned a grade on the basis of his/her apparent and hidden deeds. The first major grade granted on the basis of hidden deeds is ‘mumin’; the second major grade is ‘mutahar’; the third major grade is ‘muhsin’; the fourth major grade is ‘ mutawakkil’. Similarly the first major grade granted on the basis of apparent deeds is ‘aabid’; the second major grade is ‘zahid’; the third is ‘aalim’; the fourth major grade is ‘zakir’. The fifth is ‘munfiq’; the sixth is ‘muttaqi’. Between these major grades, there are many other lesser grades too; such grades have been mentioned in sura al-ahzab-35 which states:
“Indeed, the Muslim men and Muslim women, the believing (mumin) men and women, the obedient (qaneh)men and women, the truthful (sadiq)men and women [it may be noted that ‘sadiq’ and ‘siddique’ are two different grades; sadiq means truthful whereas siddique proves revealed knowledge intellectually], the patient (sabir) men and women, the humble (khasheh) men and women, the charitable (mutasaddiq)men and women [mutasaddiq is different from munfiq; mutasaddiq is he who gives alms whereas munfiq is higher grade Muslim who spends his wealth in addition to giving alms], the fasting (saem)men and women, the men who guard their private parts and the women who do so, and the men who remember Allah often and the women who do so - for them Allah has prepared forgiveness and a great reward”.
It may be appreciated that some grades pertain to hidden deeds and the some others pertain to apparent deeds. On the basis of these grades, overall levels of spiritual elevations are determined. The first major level of spiritual elevation is ‘saleh’; second major is ‘shaheed’; third is ‘siddique’; fourth is ‘Nabi’; the fifth is ‘rasool’. (plz see my article “Patterns of Spiritual Elevations). The term Muslim applies to all these grades. It means ‘Muslim’ is a general term applied to all grades believers. But it may be noted our Nabi (saw) states that “only ‘mumineen’ will go to paradise; it means a Muslim has to be holder of grade called ‘mumin’ which is the first major grade granted on the basis of hidden deeds. Quran has defined ‘mumin’ as “The believers (mumineen) are only the ones who have believed in Allah and His Messenger and then doubt not but strive with their properties and their lives in the cause of Allah” (al-hujurat-15). Such Muslims are 'mumineen' which do not doubt Islamic guidance. The Muslims who have doubts about Islamic guidance/injunctions and do not remove such doubts until death, such Muslims die as ‘kafreen’. “But those in whose minds/ ‘quloobs’ is a disease,-it will add doubt to their doubt, and they will die in a state of Unbelief (al-taubah-125). (plz also see my article “ Individual’s Social Development”).
We should not be overestimating ourselves; we should seriously and deeply analyze ourselves to rate ourselves, to know where we stand in terms of belief and non-belief in Islamic guidance. We should not act like Jews who consider themselves the best creature on the face of earth and most beloved of Allah despite their miserably poor belief in Allah’s guidance.